With the launch of Google Stadia just under a month away on 19th November, those pre-ordering the Founder’s Edition and Premier Edition of the service’s innovative controller will be dismayed to discover that this does not guarantee you access on day one, as pre-orders will only “start arriving” on that date.
This is down to requiring Google’s hardware at launch, namely a Stadia Controller to play with and a Chromecast Ultra to stream your games to your TV. Though the eventual intention is that you can play on practically any screen you own, from TVs to laptops, tablets and even phones, and using a wide variety of different game inputs, it’s being locked down to the controller and Chromecast Ultra at launch. Without those, you might have theoretical access to the service, but you won’t be able to play.
Google started selling the Founder’s Edition bundles back in June, announcing recently that this would be selling out and, thanks to high enough demand, be replaced by a Premiere Edition to pre-order. It was this latter edition that The Verge enquired about, with Google pointing to a blog post from last week explaining the situation.
Pre-orders will be shipped in the same order that they were received, with customers emailed when the package ships and a separate email containing an activation code for your Stadia account and Stadia Pro subscription. There’s nothing to say that there will be delays, but especially if you pre-ordered more recently, there’s no guarantee that everything will come together for the 19th, let alone the 9AM PST/5PM BST/6PM CET server launch.
It’s this latter point that makes this situation so baffling. This isn’t like a mobile phone or traditional games console, where you could theoretically get access a few days early and start using them ahead of the street date, this is entirely locked down by digital access to Stadia’s servers. It’s quite ludicrous that Google aren’t able to plan ahead by a day or two, get the hardware into the hands of users so that anyone that wishes is able to start playing from the first minute.
Given the promise of near instantaneous gaming, a potential hold up like this isn’t exactly on message…